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A Word About Buffing

In a broad sense the surface finishing of metals and plastics have overlapping terms applied to the processes of grinding, polishing, buffing, lapping. The processes involve the use of abrasives brought into contact with the work surface in a variety of ways, the object being stock removal or refining of the work piece to an acceptable finish. A condensed version of how the abrasive is used would include:

GRINDING

Refers to the abrasive being solidly bonded into hard grinding wheels.

 

BUFFING

Refers to the abrasive being formulated with binders into a cake, tube, paste, or liquid form. The term “buffing” means the practice of producing a uniform finish by means of a revolving buffing wheel “charged” with buffing compound in contact with the work surface. Assuming that the work piece surface is smooth enough to buff out imperfections or if needed, has been leveled through a polishing wheel or belt operation, “buffing” can generally be divided into two operations referred to as (1.) “cutting down” and (2.) “coloring”.

“COLORING”

A light-duty buffing intended to bring up a luster on work surfaces that do not require an initial “cutting down” operation. “Coloring” compounds are formulated using finer mesh size abrasives than those used in making “cutting” compounds. “Coloring” compounds are also used when a secondary re-buffing operation is desirable to enhance and brighten the appearance left from a “cutting down” operation. Compounds that serve the dual purpose of both cutting and coloring are referred to as “DOUBLE-DUTY” compounds.

COMPOUND SHELF LIFE

Except for Satin-Glo® greaseless polishing compound and Liquid Spraymax, the compounds contained in this catalog can be stored indefinitely without deteriorating.

POLISHING

Refers to the abrasive being bonded to coated abrasive belts, set-up polishing wheels, greaseless compound buff heads or dry abrasive nylon mesh wheels.

“CUTTING DOWN”

The preliminary step performed with a coarse cutting abrasive buffing compound. In many cases this one “cutting down” operation may be all that’s necessary to secure a bright enough, satisfactory appearance.

LIQUID BUFFING COMPOUNDS

The abrasives and binders used in formulating liquid/paste buffing compounds are virtually the same as those used in solid compounds. The difference being the ingredients are carried in a water base, emulsified, fluid form intended for spray or brush application.

BUFFING WHEELS

Buffing wheels serve two main functions: (1.) To carry the abrasive particles across the work surface to perform a cutting and/or coloring action. (2.) Where required, to generate sufficient frictional heat to permit plastically flowing or burnishing the work surface. It is to perform these two principal functions that buffing wheels are produced in a range of designs, buffing fabrics and constructions. The nature and shape of the work piece and the ultimate finish desired dictate the styles best suited for that specific application.

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